Bogdan Bondarenko at the 2015 Seiko Golden Grand Prix in Kawasaki (© Getty Images)
Tianna Bartoletta managed to complete the long jump-100m double at this year's Seiko Golden Grand Prix in Kawasaki, but the American could hardly have cut it closer in either event at the IAAF World Challenge meeting on Sunday (10).
Bartoletta, who has put her career back on track in an attempt to regain the world long jump title she won as a teenager in 2005, had lost to Klishina by 10cm at last year's meeting but from the start of competition, it was apparent the margin would be much less this time.
Bartoletta opened with a jump of 6.65m, and Klishina followed with 6.66m. The American then sailed out to 6.69m, which Klishina nearly matched but landed at 6.68m.
Neither could improve the rest of the way, and Bartoletta, with the 100m ahead of her, passed on her final two attempts but said she was ready to jump if Klishina overtook her, which she half-expected.
"I don't underestimate anybody in the long jump field ever," commented Bartoletta. "I've done it a few times myself, when it seems like I was out of it. I won indoor worlds on my last jump and Helsinki on my fifth jump, so I never assume it's in the bag. "
Both jumpers cited fatigue as the small field of six left little time between attempts.
"Today was hard because it was so fast and with very small break between attempts," said Klishina, whose best jump was on her fourth attempt but ruled a close foul. "This is my first competition and I was confused a little bit."
In the 100m, which Bartoletta won last year, she did not join the leaders until the final 20 metres, then managed to edge her opponents in 11.26.
"I didn't have a very good anything," she said. "I am happy to have won the race, but it wasn't a technically sound race.
"I ran around the same time at this meet last year, and went on to run 10.92 at my nationals. So I'm learning not to get too caught up in where your start, because everybody only remembers how you finish."
In the tight finish, Ivory Coast’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou was given the same time as Bartoletta but had to settle for second, a few thousandths in arrears while Jamaica’s Simone Facey was third in 11.27. The latter later returned to the track to win the women's 200 in 22.65, 0.20 ahead of USA’s Tiffany Townsend.
Bogdan Bondarenko repeated his victory from last year in the men's high jump, but was unable to beat his winning mark of 2.40m at last year's meeting – he missed in three attempts at 2.41 – but the Ukrainian star was far from unhappy.
"I feel good. I had good trip here. I wanted to jump better today, but I think 2.37 is not a bad result."
He cleared both 2.20m and 2.31m on his first attempts, then needed two jumps to clear 2.37m; a marked contrast from 2014, when he needed three attempts to make three consecutive heights for the first time in his career.
"I felt better technically than last year, so I could make the heights on the first attempt," Bondarenko said. "In this way, I can save energy for the upcoming season."
China's Zhang Guowei finished second and Japan's Takashi Eto third, with both clearing 2.28.
The meet at refurbished Todoroki Stadium also marked the opening event of the women's IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge, with Slovakia's Martina Hrasnova capturing the title in dramatic fashion with a final throw of 74.27m.
Hrasnova was in third place going into the final round when she uncorked the leading throw in the world this season.
China's Wang Zheng threw 73.68m on her last attempt to edge Canada's Sultana Frizell by two centimetres for second place.
In the women's 100m hurdles, London 2012 Olympic Games champion Sally Pearson bolted out of the blocks and was never challenged, winning in 12.66, although a loss of pace late in the race cost her a chance to regain the meeting record she set in 2007 but lost last year when Brianna Rollins clocked 12.62.
"It was a good race," said Pearson, who was competing for the first time since winning at the Australian championships six weeks ago. "I think if I had another race straight after, it would have been better.
"I'm really glad that Doha is only five days away from now so I can really focus on that and pick up my speed toward the end. I think I lacked a little bit there. I think that's one thing that I can improve on," added Pearson.
USA’s Queen Harrison finished second in 12.75.
In other highlights, two other meeting records fell, while the host nation came away with two impressive victories and a new national record.
Ukraine's Anna Mishchenko passed Ethiopia's world junior silver medalist Gudaf Tsegay coming off the final turn and won the women's 1500m in 4:02.47, topping the previous record of 4.03.51 set by Australia's Sarah Jamieson in 2006.
Tsegay also finished under the old mark in second with 4:03.09.
Hungary's Anita Marton won the women's shot put with a throw of 18.94, bettering Valerie Adams' 2003 meeting record by one centimetre.
While Japan was missing teen sprint star Yoshihide Kiryu, another member of the squad that won a bronze medal in the men's 4x100 at the IAAF World Relays helped pick up the slack.
Kenji Fujimitsu, a past national champion who has been plagued by injuries, burst back onto the scene by winning the 200m in 20.33, and knocked 0.05 off his personal best set in 2010.
Japan went one-two in the men's pole vault, with Seito Yamamoto, who finished sixth at the World Championships, securing the win on misses over Hiroki Ogita after both cleared 5.50m.
In the women's javelin, Yuki Ebihara added nearly a metre to her Japanese record with a toss of 63.80m, although that was only good enough for fourth place.
Canada's Elizabeth Gleadle threw a national record of 64.83m to edge USA’s Brittany Borman by eight centimetres, and Latvia's Madara Palameika was third at 64.07.
"I was expecting a personal best this season," Gleadle said. "I wasn't expecting such a great series and a personal best so soon."
The men’s javelin also saw some good distances with Czech Republic's Jakub Vadlejch winning throw of 85.13m adding 68cm to his personal best.
Other men's winners were: Cuba's Alexis Copello in the triple jump with a wind-aided 17.24m; Colombia's Rafith Rodriguez in the 800m, 1:45:84; Estonia's Rasmus Magi in the 400m hurdles, 49.48; and Kenya's Bernard Nganga in the 3000m steeplechase in 8:23.77.
The remaining women's titles went to Australian Lauren Wells in the 400m hurdles with 56.19 and Nigerian Regina George in the 400m with 51.30.
Ken Marantz for the IAAF